Tips for a safe festival for your four-legged friend

Festive season is now so near and Diwali is just round the corner. As a guardian you should not forget the needs of your companion who takes care of you so well. Oh yes, I am talking about the dear member of your family- your dog! Festivals bring in a lot of joy and celebration. In the midst of all these pomp and show, we sometimes forget about the safety of our canine friends, which becomes all the more important during this time.

As you are aware, dogs hear so well. They can differentiate between the noises of engines of two cars of same make and prick their ears when their master’s car arrives – a feat impossible for most of us. They can hear about 40 times better than us.

So now we know, our canine friends can hear the noises or sounds beyond our capacity and have a very wide spectrum of hearing. They can be greatly startled by the noise of crackers burnt long distance away. We all should behave responsibly and avoid the noisy crackers completely.

Festival fears

What disturbs our pets mostly is the loud music. As common sense prevails what troubles humans is hell for pets. There are loudspeakers everywhere during festive season, which contribute to the heavy sound pollution. These are the circumstances that need to be controlled. I have seen cases of dogs hiding as noise levels become higher and that is very traumatic for them. Dogs tend to stay away from their homes when frightened, hence, it becomes important to ensure they are safe and secure.

Some dogs can get very nervous and try to chew on things or bite people or even their owners on the slightest provocation during such times. I have also encountered cases of dogs attacking live crackers trying to take them in their mouth, biting the crackers and getting burnt in the process. Always remember that crackers can cause fear, aggression or mental depression in dogs, so keep your pet monitored at all times.

I even came across a case where a puppy chewed on the ornaments kept in front of deity during worship and ‘ate’ them. The guardians of the dogs could not understand where the ornaments disappeared until I suggested having the puppy X-rayed. So be careful on this issue as well.

Feeding during festivals

Other important precautions during festive season would be regarding feeding of dogs:

  • Do not give sweets or fried, spicy foodstuff to dogs as it can upset their stomach.
  • Do not shift from normal feeding practices.
  • Do not keep sweets in the box open as your lil’ one can eat the whole lot and get sick.

Various treatments advised:

Homoeopathic :

  • Phosphorus?: Use when the dog is easily startled by noise and leaps suddenly when you drop something.
  • Borax?: Use when the dog startles greatly even if the noise is a long distance away.
  • Aconite?: Main fear remedy. Use when responses are rapid and violent. Use doses in low potency- 3x, 6x, 3c, or 6c.

Ayurvedic: Mentat syrup (Himalaya drugs) or Anxocare syrup (veterinary formulation) 1tspfull three times a day or a tab each of medicines mentioned above is recommended as a behaviour modifier, anxiolytic and mood elevator.

Allopathic: These are very potent and should be used under a veterinarian’s guidance only. (Dr. Vinay S. Gorhe, MVSc (medicine), is educated at Bombay Veterinary College. He is a university gold medallist and has worked as an officer-in-charge of Peshwe Zoo of Pune city. He runs a full time clinic for companion animals in Kothrud, Pune. He has visited many countries in connection with wildlife medicine and companion animal medicine over the last 20 years. He can be contacted at Ph: 020 – 25411216, 09822015318, e-mail: vinaygorhe@hotmail.com)

Getting ready for the new family member

Keeping a pup is a responsible job, almost as responsible as having one’s own baby, if not more. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure you are getting the four-legged creatures home for all the right reasons, with all the commitment that they deserve — and more!!!

It’s a wonderful feeling to get a pup home and to be able to be a part of his antics, his playfulness, his exuberance and the life he adds to your life. But then, there are many factors that need to be considered before you take the plunge. After all, we are talking of a whole new life here, a whole set of new commitments and a whole new experience —something that most people are not fully prepared for. Which is why, before you think of getting the new canine member into your family fold, you should be completely sure you are ready, not just to let him into your life, but to also give him a life that he deserves!!!.

The right reasons:

Believe it or not, there are many people who consider getting a pup home akin to getting a toy to appease their kids, or to highlight their status, or even to guard their house. Get him only if you want him for what he is, not for what he can do for you. Never underestimate the time, energy and money that you need to invest when you make a dog a part of your family. You must be ready to accept the responsibility for his well being. If you are depending upon the kid or the servant to take care of the pup, then it’s a good idea to drop it like hot cake, because the kids tend to lose interest after awhile, and the servants only consider it as additional work. So, unless you have it in you to personally take care, don’t go ahead.

Right environment:

It is also important to consider whether your house environment is conducive to the pup’s presence, which includes having enough space for him to move around, etc. You should be ready to devote time and energy to play with him, take him for walks, groom and train him regularly and be a part of his life, his playful antics. You should be ready to commit yourself for the rest of his life. If you have a transferable job, then you must ensure that the dog comes with you as a part of your family. It is also crucial to consider whether you will take him along on your vacations, or can ensure his proper care while you are away. Any impulsive decision on this account will lead to surrendering the dog to a shelter or rescue. What is really sad is that many pups are rendered homeless, and are even euthanized not because they were at fault, but because their owners made the wrong decisions.

Matchmaking pup’s breed with yourself:

One of the most common mistakes that prospective dog owners make, is to choose a breed that is most popular, instead of picking one that suits their lifestyle, temperament and needs. It’s imperative to choose a dog, who suits your resources of time, money and energy. For instance, if your house is small and there is shortage of space, then you need to go in for a small breed such as Lhasa Apso, Pomeranians, Dachshund et al. Space is crucial for pets and helps in healthy relationships even between humans and animals.

Puppy proofing your home:

While the excitement of getting the dog home is indeed overwhelming, it is equally important to “puppy-proof” your house, so that the new pup does not harm himself or the things inside. Remember, pups are like babies — babies who can move and chew!!! The over-enthusiastic, exuberant lil’ fur balls are full of life and curious about every nook and corner of the house. And they almost always, want to put everything they can, into their mouths. So, a simple homework before the four-legged member sets paws into the house, is a good idea. All the dangling electric cords must be safely tucked away, since the pup will try and play with those at the very first opportunity; all the electrical switch points must be covered, and all poisonous household items must be put out of reach; all household cleaners, laundry detergents, bleach, disinfectants, insecticides, cleaning fluid, fertilisers, mothballs, insect poisons, rat poisons etc must be put in the cabinets or on high shelves, as these can be harmful to your pup; try not having too many plants in the house as chewing on certain plants can make your pup sick; even plastic bags are known to be harmful as they tend to choke on it.

And more importantly, never leave you pup unsupervised at least initially, till he is into that hyper exploring mood. Make sure all openings on the balcony, porches, high decks or the fence are well blocked, since these small brats not only tend to fall, but even try and sneak out with all their strength. Also keep things like buttons, string, sewing needles, pins and other sharp objects out of their reach, because if he swallows any of these objects, he can damage his mouth and internal organs.

Shopping for the puppy

It’s important to be prepared well in advance with the things your pup will need, before he makes his entry. First and foremost, he will need his food and water bowl, which must be separate and easy to clean. Buy small ones initially and change them with bigger ones as and when they grow up, which believe me, is only a matter of time, as the darlings grow up really fast — basking in the love of their new family. The next important thing is his collar and a leash, since he will need to be taken for walk regularly. Make sure his collar has the identification tag with your puppy’s name, your address and phone number. He will also need to have proper grooming tools, such as a brush (depending on his breed), a shampoo, etc. Pups need toys to play with, and it also helps them to exercise and grow healthy. Large rawhide chips, nylon chews and hard rubber balls are fun and safe. Dog bones are also something that the pup really enjoys, especially when he starts teething. He will also need a nice sleeping place. Some people have crates and many use baskets for the purpose. And once you are ready with all the Dos and Don’ts, then believe me, there is nothing more pleasurable than getting a warm loving pup home, who will not just change your life for the better but will add so many colours to your life, that the commitment will come most naturally.

Guide to selecting your puppy

Whether you have decided to bring home a mongrel or a pedigree dog, few things should be kept in mind. Yashodhara Hemchandra of Yashbans Kennels gives tips on getting your best friend.

 

There is no better joy or happiness (other than your kids, of course) like having a pet at home. You can laugh your stress out with his antics; your pressure levels subside by just petting him. You can have a great listener to your woes, a loyal companion for your walks. You can even train him to do small chores for you, which he will oblige most willingly. The entire experience of having a dog makes you in turn, one extremely good, caring and responsible human being.

There are many basic and important aspects that a person should look into, before venturing to bring home a puppy. If you are ready to take care of him, just like your own baby, then there’s no reason why you should not bring a puppy home. The next step is to analyse what type of breed is best suited to your temperament, lifestyle, family and surroundings. Decision needs to be taken whether you would prefer to have a lovable, adorable, intelligent, non-pedigree mongrel or a pedigree counterpart. Both can form lovable and affectionate companions.

If you wish to share your life with a pedigree dog, then beware of unscrupulous self-styled breeders. It should also be kept in mind that it takes a lot of time, money, effort, patience and hardwork to own a perfect specimen. And then comes the question, do you want your dog to be a super show dog, an obedience Champion, an excellent breeding dog or a pampered pet. At all times, remember, your pet is going to reflect your personality, temperament and behaviour. If a top class pedigree dog is what you want, then, do not compromise on the quality.

After you have analysed yourself and feel you are an ideal person to own a pedigreed dog, then you must make sure of the following:

  • You must buy your dog from a reputed, established breeder. Make sure that the breeder is totally committed to breeding top, pedigree dogs. Always visit his place and make sure that the kennel you are buying your puppy from is a hygienic, clean place and that all the dogs are well cared for and loved. Once you have come across such a breeder, learn to trust him implicitly and take his advice on the pup, which will be best suited for you.
  • A reputed breeder would have definitely registered the pups with the Kennel Club of India, which is the only one recognised worldwide. Above all, make sure the pup conforms to the breed standards and looks healthy and active.
  • Never, ever buy a puppy because the breeder says that the parents of the puppy are Champions, etc. This is not a necessary criteria at all, for a puppy to become a Champion as well. Instead make sure that the parents (the Dam and the Sire) of the puppy are healthy dogs, conforming to the breed standards, with no visible defects or deformities. Make sure that the puppies shown to you are the offsprings of the Dam and Sire shown to you as parents.
  • Always buy the puppy by seeing the puppy or by the reputation of the breeder. If the pup is healthy, conforming to the breed standards, then definitely he must be having a good lineage. You don’t have to worry about the pedigree at all. However, if you are buying a puppy by looking at his pedigree alone, then you are in trouble. An awesome pedigree need not necessarily mean that the puppy is a top quality one. A pedigree just gives us an idea of the pups’ lineage.
  • Ask the breeder to furnish you a feeding and a vaccination chart.
  • Make sure that the breeder will give you tips on handling your new puppy.
  • Ask for health guarantees.
  • Make sure that the pups are microchipped or tattooed as a means of recognition that he is bred by that particular breeder.
  • Make sure that the breeder gives you the name and address of his or her veterinarian. Also enquire from them if there is any reputable veterinarian in and around your area. In case you opt for a mongrel, then contact animal shelters or animal welfare organisations in your area, from where you could adopt a puppy or dog and give him a life he so aptly deserves.

Once you have brought the puppy home, then following things should be kept in mind:

  • The puppy would have had his initial puppy vaccination at the breeder’s place, in all probability. Find out about his deworming and vaccination schedule. He must be immunised against rabies when he is about six months of age. Make sure he has his yearly shots to give him complete immunisation against various diseases.
  • You must also make sure that you buy your pet’s requirements of food, toys etc from a reputed pet shop. They will be able to advise you correctly and not sell you expired or sub-standard products. They will ensure that all pet products are puppy safe.

Once you have analysed yourself as a capable dog owner, then just go ahead and bring home the new puppy. Make sure you live up to your commitment, not just as the puppy’s new owner, but as a responsible, loving human being. Make sure your puppy feels proud of you. And that you have risen above many, as a caring, loving human being and that you are the chosen one.

(Yashodhra Hemchandra has devoted herself for over two decades in establishing one of India’s most reputed kennel – Yashbans Kennels. Yashbans is not only a top breeding kennel but also has boarding facility, a grooming parlour, a pet shop and also is a shelter to abandoned and ill-treated animals. She can be contacted at: Yashbans Kennels, Yashbans Farm, Kyalasanahalli, (Off. Hennur Road) Bangalore – 560 077, Ph: 57639548 , 28465321, 9844058080 . Her website is: www.yashbans.com)

Protecting your pooch from diseases

Puppies are hard to resist. Once you have got your new pooch home, it is vital to take care of his health-related issues. Dr. Deepa Katyal gives an overview of these important issues.

Protecting your puppy:

Love’s not enough. Your puppy needs a preventive health care program, too. Every new puppy faces a variety of parasites and infectious organisms as it grows. Some can pose a threat to humans too, so it’s important to take your puppy to your veterinarian as soon as you can. That way, your veterinarian may get your puppy started on a preventive health care plan that’s the foundation for a long, healthy life – and your family can enjoy your new member worry free. Here are some puppy health care topics you should discuss with your veterinarian.

Vaccination schedule:

Since puppies are curious and like to explore everything, they’re good candidates for exposure to infection. But your veterinarian can help protect them against a number of infectious organisms through a regular vaccination program. A puppy typically receives its first vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and vaccinations will continue throughout the dog’s life. Your veterinarian will set up your puppy’s vaccination schedule. In fact, taking your dog to “get his shots” on a regular basis is one of the easiest, most important ways you can protect your pet’s good health, because it also ensures that your veterinarian has the chance to examine your dog regularly to detect any problems before they become serious threats. In most cases, one should vaccinate for the following diseases: Rabies, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Hepatitis Virus, Leptospirosis, Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Bordetella.

Rabies: a fatal disease

Rabies is a generally fatal viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can infect all warm-blooded animals. The disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted to humans bitten by an infected animal. People exposed to rabies must undergo an immunisation regime. Canine Parvovirus (Parvo): an intestinal virus Parvo is an acute, potentially fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract and, less commonly, the heart muscle. Although dogs of all ages are susceptible, puppies are more at risk. Signs include vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, fever and dehydration. Since these symptoms can indicate other diseases as well, the vet will confirm a diagnosis of parvoviral infection by examining the faeces.

Distemper:

Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects a puppy’s skin, respiratory system, intestines, and brain and can cause transient fever, discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of appetite, hardening of footpads, nervous disorders and even death. It is not transmitted to people. Distemper is spread via tiny droplets in a dog’s breath and is so contagious among dogs that the disease is sometimes called the “Canine Plague.” Young puppies are at greatest risk of contracting distemper, though all unvaccinated dogs and dogs with suppressed immune systems are at risk.

Canine Coronavirus:

In most cases, Canine Coronavirus (CCV) is transmitted when dogs or puppies ingest the disease-causing organism following direct contact with infected animals or their faeces. Dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible. CCV infection can range from very mild and barely noticeable to serious. Dogs infected with CCV may refuse food, seem lethargic, become dehydrated, and suffer from sudden-onset diarrhoea that can last from ten days to several weeks. CCV can occur at the same time as canine parvovirus, intensifying the dog’s illness and even causing death in puppies.

Internal parasites:

In addition to intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms, puppies are also vulnerable to picking up whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms. Roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm infestations are prevented by once-monthly medication called Interceptor, which is also an excellent medication for prevention of infections with heartworms. Heartworm disease is almost always fatal and yet highly preventable. Tapeworms are prevented by preventing flea infestations.

Deworming:

Most puppies are born with worms (lactogenic route of transmission) and therefore should be dewormed by your veterinarian. Faecal examination is the microscopic examination of stools for parasites and may be done to confirm if there are worms or determine which worms are present. Puppies can pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. They can also get roundworms and hookworms from their mother before birth. For this reason – and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of roundworm or hookworms – routine deworming all puppies several times between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks is important. A potbellied appearance of the abdomen is also an indication of worm overload.

External parasites:

The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas, with ticks being common in late winter/spring/early summer. There are a variety of flea control products available which are effective and safe depending on your puppy’s age. Flea control is a very complicated process, it is therefore best to consult a qualified veterinarian to tackle this problem. Ticks too are cause of health issues in canines as are responsible for various blood infection such as Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Hepatozoonoses etc (Tick fever), it is therefore mandatory to pay necessary attention to pups with heavy infestation, loads of safe products including powders, sprays, drop on as well as deticking shampoos are available since most of them can cause toxicity, use of any deticking product should be used after veterinary consultation. It has been observed that ayurvedic or herbal products too viz. neem oil or leaf extract containing products are gaining popularity as a deticking agent.

Nutrition:

The energy requirements of a puppy, based on body weight, is nearly double that of an adult. The number of calories a 2-month-old puppy needs varies with his size, activity level and weight. Approximate calorie requirements for the different breed sizes are: 225 for toys; 400 for small breeds; 530 for medium; 990 for large; and 1220 for giant breed dogs. There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Consider your pup’s age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Weigh your puppy each week. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. More active pups may burn more calories and require more food. The opposite is true for less active pups. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. (Dr. Deepa Katyal, MVSc (Mumbai), MVSt (Australia) is a veterinary practitioner from Chembur, Mumbai. She is the CEO of K-9 Klub for dog lovers. She can be contacted at 9819742557.)

Petcare for your pup

Just as with humans, the environment in which a puppy is raised, influences her behaviour in adult life. The early socialisation period, is very short lasting for only few months. During this time, puppies learn how to behave with other dogs and humans.

Four to eight weeks is a tender age for pups and special care should be taken to make them confident. Following tips should be kept in mind to make your four-week-old puppy a well-behaved adult dog:

  • Start early?:?Lessons should start as soon as puppies are old enough to try to wander away from the mother dog.
  • Pack hierarchy?:?Puppies should eat and play with other puppies, so that they understand the pack hierarchy and body language. By ensuring that a puppy experiences this early socialisation.
  • Family mealtime?:?Feed puppies together rather than separately. This will ensure that they are not possessive over their food as adults.
  • Socialisation?:?At four weeks of age, the senses are developed. Puppies should receive mental stimulation and learn how to behave with other dogs through regular play activity.
  • Grooming?:?A long-haired puppy needs daily grooming. This helps to keep the puppy’s coat clean and satisfies her needs for mothering.
  • Daily handling?:?Pick up the puppy several times a day to make her get used to handling by humans.
  • Nutrition?:?Provide frequent, nutritious meals for growth and maintenance of her body.

Leaving home?:?A puppy grows rapidly. By the time, she is eight-week-old, she gets used to being handled and stands quite alert when held. Her coat changes to her adult colour pattern. Regular grooming will keep her coat healthy and shining. This is the time when a puppy is ready to leave her mother and move to her new home. She is now confident to be able to cope with her exciting new world.

(S Sanjay Kumar is Product Manager at PETCARE, Bangalore.)

Infant puppy care

It is a pathetic situation to see puppies dying without reason after prolonged stressful management of breeding and whelping. To avoid such a mishap, here are tips to ensure that your puppy leads a long and healthy life.

 

Understanding of development of body and its function during early infant period of puppy is essential for all breeders and dog lovers, who often face problem in the management of neonatal puppies. Mortality of puppies can be as high as 30% with 65% of death occurring during the first week of life. Puppies who die immediately after birth are often called “fading puppy syndrome”. A “fader” is a puppy apparently healthy at birth but failing to survive beyond two weeks of age. Even though causes for puppy loss may be many like congenital defects, nutritional diseases (of dam or puppy), abnormally low birth weight, trauma/stress during birth process, maternal neglect, infectious disease, etc, the most common reason is due to neglected and improper management of puppy during the illness.

Puppies are born in a very care-dependent state with poorly developed body systems. Their organs develop during early period of puppy life. They are born with closed eyes and ear canal, with no ability to maintain their own body temperature. They can’t react or move away from external stimuli and even elimination of urine and motion needs lick stimuli from mother over the perineal region. They start gaining these functions progressively only from three weeks onwards.

Conditions like reduced blood sugar (hypoglycemia), reduced body temperature (hypothermia) and reduced water content of body (dehydration) are the most common high risk conditions that cause death during first two weeks of life. Puppies are usually born with very less fat body store (1% of body weight in new born puppies, 10% in two weeks puppies and more than 20% of body weight in adults) and glycogen (energy stored in liver), which can only supply energy for 12 hours during fasting. In contrast, adult dogs can undergo weeks of starvation without developing hypoglycemia. Depletion of glycogen and fat stores occurs rapidly due to inadequate intake of food. Causes include insufficient milk production (both in quality and quantity) by the mother, premature birth, dominance by other puppies, low birth weight and parasites, infection and other causes, which prevent puppy to nurse normally.

As the newborn puppies cannot regulate their own body temperature, they depend on optimal environmental temperature during the first two weeks of life. Once a puppy’s rectal temperature drops below 34.50C (94F), he becomes less active and nurses ineffectively, bowel movements stops and digestion no longer occurs and puppy becomes motionless at 32.50C (90F).

Apart from environmental temperature, other conditions like insufficient milk intake by the puppy due to disease, inability to reach the mother’s teats, inadequate production of milk, infected milk and disease of mother may also contribute to hypothermia in puppy. Orphan puppies suffer more due to this condition. Increased environmental temperature, reduced intake and diarrhoea also result in dehydration.

All the conditions namely hypoglycemia, hypothermia and dehydration are interrelated, occurrence of one condition may lead to onset of other conditions. Management of these critical conditions by the owner or/and with the help of his vet can save the puppy.

Management/treatment:

The main treatment goals are to regain body temperature, maintain normal blood glucose level and hydrate the puppy. These can be achieved by the following procedures. Chilled puppies should be rewarmed to 34.50C (94F) after administration of 10% glucose solution or baby food or honey (energy source) at doses of 1 ml/100gm of body weight every two hours orally, if the puppy has suction reflex or through stomach tube (infant feeding tube size 5 or 6 can be used). In delayed critical case, subcutaneous injection of mixture of equal amount of 5% glucose solution and ringers lactate solution (97ºC) at the dose rate of 1ml/30gms of body weight can be given (repeated as needed) till he starts suckling on his own. Puppy should be warmed slowly and progressively over a period of 1 to 3 hours by warm water heating blanket or with poultry incubator (98F). Core warming of body can also be effected by giving enema with preheated (97-98F) normal saline solution which will also help in evacuation of constipated motion and also help in rehydration of energy through absorption of water by the large intestinal wall. Motionless puppies with reduced respiratory rate (less than 20/minute) and discoloured mucous membrane should be kept in oxygen chamber till he recovers.

Since the acid concentration of the stomach in puppy is less (pH > 3) than adult, infection through oral route is very common. To treat the condition suitable antibiotics with minimum side effects on the vital organs as prescribed by the vet should be given.

Preventive measures:

  • Maintenance of optimal temp, ventilation and humidity (60%) in whelping area.
  • Monitoring colostrums and milk intake by the individual puppy.
  • Treating infection of mother (uterine/mammary infection).
  • Measurement of daily body weight gain in puppies.

It is an important tool to measure the food intake and general health of the puppy. Body weight of individual puppy should be recorded within 24 hours after and then daily for first four weeks of life. Normal puppy gains 5% of the current body weight daily for the first four weeks. The puppy’s body weight often doubles by 10 days after birth and triples by third week. Between one and two months of age, daily weight gain may reach 3gms/kg of adult body weight.

Consistent monitoring and timely treatment should help in reducing the loss of puppies in breeding.

(Dr. R. Jayaprakash, M.V.Sc., PhD, FFAO (USA) completed his B.V.Sc. during 1981 and worked as Govt Veterinary Surgeon and zoo vet till he joined as Assistant Professor in1991 at Madras Veterinary College. He did his M.V.Sc. in Surgery and PhD in 1997. He is in small animal practice for last 18 years. He underwent fellowship training in USA on Surgical management. Now he is working as Associate Professor of surgery. He is also sitting Secretary for Small Animal Practitioner Association of Chennai. He can be contacted at: JP Pet Speciality Hospital, Chennai –600 020, Ph: 044-24411909/09444385393.)

Early socialisation of puppies: a potential lifesaver

Intervet UK has developed a practical vaccination regime to help encourage early socialisation in puppies to avoid behavioural problems in later stage. Behavioural problems are treated by euthanasia in a large number of young adult dogs. Many of these problems may arise due to traditional vaccination regimes that encourage owners to keep puppies isolated and unsocialised during the sensitive developmental period (3-14 weeks old). As a result of these concerns, Intervet UK has developed a practical vaccination regime to help encourage early socialisation. Extensive research has now permitted a licence variation in the UK that permits final vaccination with Nobivac DHPPi+L at 10 weeks old in puppies.

Benefits of early vaccination:

A young pup, between the age of 3 and 14 weeks, is affected profoundly by his physical and social environment. What happens during this period will mould his behaviour and personality for the rest of his life. In order to produce a well-behaved and well-balanced adult dog, a young puppy must be exposed to a wide variety of physical, social and environmental stimuli when he is 3-14 weeks old. Puppies that are not socialised and habituated in this way may react with fear to unfamiliar stimuli that they encounter later in life. This can manifest as behaviour problems such as fear-related aggression.

A young pup should not be exposed to disease until he is vaccinated fully. The established vaccination regimes, with final vaccination at 12 weeks old or older, mean that pups often do not interact outside their home environment until 1-2 weeks after this final vaccination. They miss out on socialising fully during the sensitive developmental period. Many serious behaviour problems that arise later in life can be traced back to a relative lack of socialisation during the early developmental period.

Vaccination in the face of MDA:

The traditional final vaccination at 12 weeks old or later dates back to the relatively early days of dog vaccination. This was based on the age at which concentrations of maternally derived antibody (MDA) to canine distemper virus (CDV) would be negligible or absent in almost all pups (Evans, 1967). However, pups from 6 weeks of age (or younger) can mount an immunological response to vaccination. The only thing that might prevent this is the presence of sufficient concentrations of MDA to interfere with the vaccination. In each individual pup, interference by MDA depends upon the concentrations of MDA present at the time of vaccination and the ability of the vaccine to ‘break through’ the MDA. This depends upon three main factors: the strain of vaccine virus used, the passage level selected for live attenuated vaccines and the titre (or actual amount of virus) per dose of vaccine.

Related research activity:

Intervet has an ongoing comprehensive programme of vaccine R&D. This programme has focussed on a number of aspects of vaccination including safely and effectively ‘breaking through’ MDA.

  • Intervet was the first company to develop a high titre, homologous canine parvovirus vaccine (CPV) which could ‘break through’ MDA and enable parvovirus vaccination to be completed at 12 weeks of age.
  • They were the first to develop a high titre combined vaccine that could successfully immunise most puppies at 6 weeks old versus CDV and CPV (Nobivac Puppy DP).
  • Intervet has collected data from numerous studies.
  • One study looked at response following vaccination versus CDV and CPV at 6, 9 and 12 weeks old (Mockett and Stahl, 1995). At first vaccination, the MDA titres were 1:20 to 1:80 and by second vaccination at 9 weeks old, 100% of the 11 pups had responded.
  • Groups of young puppies were vaccinated with Intervet’s multi-component vaccine (called Progard7 in the USA) and a number of competitor vaccines. This was carried out at 6-7 weeks old and a second vaccination was administered at 9-10 weeks old. All the pups vaccinated with Progard7 had responded to both CPV and CDV by 10 weeks of age. Moreover the response to CDV vaccination was far greater compared with vaccination using any of the 4 competitor vaccines (Bergman, 1997, Larson and Schultz, 1997).
  • Beagle pups with MDA titres of 1:4 to 1:64 were vaccinated with Intervet’s vaccine Progard7 at 7, 9 and 12 weeks of age. By 9 weeks of age, all pups had responded to the CDV component and 90% had responded to the CPV component (Bergman, 1996).
  • Other studies carried out include the vaccination of 100 Rottweiler pups at 6 and 9 weeks old (Hoskins, 1997). By 9 weeks of age, all had responded to CDV vaccination and 90% to CPV vaccination. In all these studies, puppies responded to vaccination at or before 10 weeks of age.
  • Intervet UK is the first company to obtain a licensed claim to allow the full primary canine vaccination course to be completed at 10 weeks of age. The company has, in conjunction with the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors developed a guide to puppy socialisation and habituation to be used in conjunction with early vaccination.

(Linda J. I. Horspool, BVMS, PhD, DipECVPT, MRCVS can be contacted at: Companion Animal Team, International Marketing, Intervet International bv, PO Box 31, 5830 AA Boxmeer, NL.)

Tips for pet keeping

Dr. Aradhana Pandey is a regular blogger for dogs and pups magazine, she gives tips for the well-being of your four-legged new member of the family. To keep a pet is to commit oneself to his care. You should be aware of certain tips required for the well being of the new life you have added to your family.

Tips for Pets KeepingPets Feeding Tips – Like a small child, a pup needs to be fed at short intervals. An interval of 4-5 hours is good enough to begin with that is to be increased as the pup grows. The suggested pets feeding time as per the age is as below: The frequency of feeding, however, may slightly vary as per the breed type. A pup’s diet should be rich in protein and fats, apart from having sufficient energy, hence adequate provision should be made to fulfill the need of your pets nutrients. Most of the pups cannot digest milk, hence it can be avoided in case of problem. Instead, curd can be included.

  • Best Supplements for Your Pets – To cope up with the growth requirement, the pet needs diet rich in minerals (especially Calcium and Phosphorous), vitamins and fatty acids. If diet is low in these elements, additional supplementation is recommended to fulfill the need.
  • Smart Way to Groom your pets – A pup should be kept neat and clean. After consulting your vet, pups can be bathed at a gap of every 1 month. To keep pup clean and free from infection, regular brushing or combing is a must. Once in a while, flea comb should be used to check flea infestation. Antiseptic/antimicrobial dusting powders can be used to check skin affection/allergy. Trimming of hair from the front of eyes will prevent eye problems. The grown up puppy (especially short hair) should be massaged to improve the skin health.
  • Puppy Bedding– Provide him with a space of his own, baskets/beds of various sizes are available. Right from the very first day he must identify where he is supposed to sleep. To make him acquainted with his bedding, put his toys and chewing objects on his bed.
  • Puppies Dental care – Dental cleaning should be started from an early age so that the pup gets used to it. Various options in form of paste, spray and gel are available. If not routinely cleaned, the teeth may develop problems in later stage of life.
  • Ear cleaning– Dogs’ ears develop a lot of wax that needs to be regularly cleaned otherwise it serves as a good medium for infectious agents. Pups should be made accustomed to ear cleaning otherwise he may not co-operate when grown up. Various cleansing agents are available in the market and can be used on the advice of the veterinarian.
  • Pets Vaccination– The pup should be duly vaccinated for all the important diseases which could otherwise be life threatening. The vaccination schedule can be procured from the vet and should be strictly followed. The major diseases from which the dog is to be protected are– Parvo virus, Canine distemper, Rabies, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, Infectious canine hepatitis and Corona virus infection. The vaccination schedule is to be annually repeated after the initial shots. The vaccines are very safe if given in a stress-free and healthy animal.
  • Security – Pups should be kept in a secured place wherein the chances of theft, accidents and poisoning are nil. Young pups have a habit of scavenging everything. Also they love to run away from home to explore the outside world. These conditions can turn to be very serious for the pup. Also there remains a possibility of road accident, as pups may not have road sense. At the same time, pup should not be kept locked in a room or crowded messy place. A over restrained pup will not grow as a healthy and disciplined dog.
  • Puppy Exercise TimeA pup should start with a gentle exercise in the courtyard of the house. This may finally take the shape of a rigorous exercise when he approaches adulthood. The transition phase should be simultaneous so that undue pressure on the joints and muscles is prevented. An exercise in the soil surface is always better than the exercise on a hard surface.
  • Prevention from ectoparasites– Pups may catch ectoparasites (ticks, lice and fleas) from their environment. Hence, it should be ensured that the place where pup is kept or taken should be free from ectoparasitic infestation.
  • Exposure to Infectious Diseases– Certain serious infectious diseases may be transmitted to the pet in the company of infected dogs. Hence until complete vaccination is over, pups should not be kept in the company of other dogs. Hopefully, these tips would help you to take care of your loving canine. (Dr. Aradhana Pandey runs Doggy World – the pet’s paradise catering to all doggy needs under one roof. A veterinarian with MBA in marketing, she believes in service to the customer at an affordable cost, without compromising on quality. She can be contacted at Tel: 9811299059, 011-27942285, 011-55817851 or e-mail: aradhana14@yahoo.com)

In Memory of the beautiful Bark

There is no pain in the world as that of losing the one you love. I still remember the day when I lost my dog to an illness and it felt like every ounce of life had ebbed out of our lives. Nothing seemed to hold any interest anymore, and I had withdrawn myself from everything and everyone around. I never knew that grief could be so great. Without him, there was complete emptiness. Each time I would wonder — where is he? Then reality would sickeningly stab, that he wasn’t there! A close friend of mine tried to cheer me up and tried to do her bit to get me out of the blues, until she finally blurted out, “Come on, it’s just a dog!”
Many people will perhaps agree with her, but whoever loves the canine family, will know that the dog is anything but “just a dog.” He is family, he is love, he is life… And the grief one experiences is the same as when one loses one’s closest and most loved member of the family. But the truth is, not many people know how to cope with the loss of a pet, because they are never ready to accept that a dog’s life span is quite short. And if you love dogs and always plan to have one, you have to learn how to cope when he/she is no more with you—because this is life!
Allow yourself to grieve :
When your dog dies, it’s most natural to feel overwhelmed by the pain at his loss. After all, he was a part of your family, your confidante, your life. It’s only a pet dog who provides the unconditional love, acceptance, companionship, and emotional support that we human beings crave so much. And when we are suddenly deprived of it, we need to remember that it’s all right to grieve, to feel sorrow and need immense support to go through the loss — even though some people might think of it as ‘inappropriate’. Being able to express your sorrow is the first step towards coping with your pet’s loss.
Share the pain :
It’s true that only you know
the intensity of your pain, but you also need to find support and company of your family and friends, who feel your grief and probably are feeling the loss as much as you do. Remember, blocking your sorrow is no solution. Allow yourself to talk about the times spent with your dog, about his antics, his idiosyncrasies that made him so special to you. It’s a good idea to browse through his snaps and his things. It will tear your heart apart for a while, but it acts
like a catharsis, and is the only way to get over the pain.
Express yourself :
It’s crucial at this point to let out all that you are feeling. I have actually done this myself, and seen that it works. I have written letters to my dog, penned poems on him, and my sister actually maintained a journal for a month or so, sharing her thoughts with him and on him, till she felt she could move on, without the pain.
Helping the children and the elders cope :
If you happen to have children and senior citizens as members of the family, you will need to take extra care with them. For the child, since the loss is his first brush with death, he may feel lost and even angry with his parents, his vet and even himself, for not taking good care. So it’s important to share your grief with him and help him understand that it’s nobody’s fault. Make him understand that you gave your dog the best life he could have. It will help him accept the loss, and even be ready to let a new dog into his life.
As for the elders, the pet’s loss can be very jolting, especially if they live alone. Not only do they feel the loss of a very dear and close companion, but they also have to deal with having to do without a very strong support system. They are reminded of all the other losses they experienced in their lives. In such cases, it’s important to stay around them and help them regain confidence in life. The elders themselves need to find ways and means to keep themselves strictly occupied—even if it means joining a voluntary society. An old acquaintance of mine actually found herself resuscitated when she joined an organisation for animals.
Do something proactive :
Doing something positive after you lose a pet gives a lot of inner peace. Some families donate money or time to an animal shelter in the name of a pet who has passed. Alternatively, you can also create a memorial of some kind.
Get a new life home :
And last but not the least — never shut the door to getting another dog home. Most people make the mistake of vowing that they will never get another dog after they lose one. But I think, you can’t be more unfair than that—unfair to yourself, to your late pet, and to the new pup, who will be deprived of a nice loving home and a family like yours.
I have been really lucky to have those paw-precious years with my buddies. I still have beautiful memories of each one of them and they still have a very special place in my heart and they have spoilt me so much, that I can’t visualise myself without the beauty of their existence and presence in my life anymore.

Your puppy

Once your puppy is weaned from his mother, he’ll need to eat a special diet formulated just for his needs. This article gives some facts on the advantages of prepared foods, and on moist vs. dry dog foods.

As the owner of a new puppy, you will want him to grow up fit and healthy, and reach his full genetic potential. It’s not hard to help him do this; all you have to do is to provide your puppy with the correct diet right from the start.

In this section, we will go over some of the things you should know about feeding your puppy the food he needs to grow up strong and healthy.

Why nutrition is important :
First, your puppy will need a very digestible diet so that his body can absorb all the nutrients. Second, it’s important that he really enjoys his food so that he’ll eat all of it.

Therefore, it really matters what you feed your puppy. In fact, he needs special nutrition with just the right amounts of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. After all, a puppy needs up to two and a half times as many calories as an adult dog does.

A puppy’s diet must also be balanced in order for him to receive the right amount of nutrients. In addition, the food should be concentrated to allow him to take in all the needed nutrients with a small amount of food.

Weaning puppies :
Puppies are normally weaned from their mother’s milk onto solid foods when they’re three to four weeks old. You should give them their food in small portions three or four times a day. If you’re buying from a breeder, your puppy should have been weaned onto a solid diet by the time you take him home at the age of eight to twelve weeks.

When you bring your puppy home :
Changing homes and leaving the mother is stressful for puppies. It could cause an upset stomach. If this happens, take your puppy off solid food for two meals and just give him small quantities of water to drink. Then, you can gradually introduce boiled rice over 24 hours, before you reintroduce his normal puppy food again. If, however, the diarrhoea or vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, or becomes more severe, contact your vet.

Once your puppy has settled in, you will likely want to change his diet to the type or brand of food you have decided on. Make sure you replace the original food with the new food gradually, over a period of three to five days.

The benefits of prepared foods :
Proper nutrition is necessary for your puppy’s health. Some dog owners prepare home-made foods for their pets. However, it’s difficult, even for an experienced breeder, to get the nutritional balance just right. The best idea is to get your puppy used to eating prepared foods from the very start.

The advantages of prepared foods are:

  • They meet nutritional requirements: balancing the proper amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
  • They are easily digestible.
  • They don’t require any food supplements. Just do not forget to put down a bowl of fresh water.
  • They are convenient to use and can be stored for long periods.

Which type of food should you choose :
There are two main types of complete dog food: moist (in cans) and dry (in packages). Both types are made from meat and grains and provide balanced nutrition, with all the necessary nutrients.

Dry foods have certain economic and practical advantages: they are more economical, they do not need to be stored in the refrigerator and they will keep for a day in the bowl. Moist foods, on the other hand, provide your dog with a highly enjoyable eating experience.

Two stages of development: puppy and young dog :
All dogs go through two stages of development: puppy and young dog. These are both very important periods in a dog’s development, as they determine what kind of adult the dog will be. Puppies are very active and grow rapidly. For this reason, they need special food that will meet their energy requirements.

What is most important to keep in mind is that dogs of different breeds reach maturity at different times. Dogs of the toy or small breeds stop growing at around 9 to 12 months, while dogs of the large breeds continue to develop up to 18 to 24 months.

However, we can generalise by saying that for all breeds, the initial stage – when a puppy reaches half of its adult weight – ends
between five and six months.

Proper nutrition allows for the puppy to reach his full genetic potential. If he’s overfed, a puppy can develop bone anomalies, which are more common in puppies of the large and giant breeds.